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Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky overcome wind for Mesa wins

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Michael Phelps thought he might fall off the starting block. Nathan Adrian worried he might not hear the starting beep.

Winds around 30 miles per hour wreaked havoc on the second night of finals at a Pro Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., on Friday, but Olympic champions fought their way to victories.

Phelps prevailed in the 200m butterfly. Katie Ledecky won by a comfortable 5.93 seconds in the 400m freestyle. Adrian was similarly dominant in the 50m freestyle, topping the field by .59.

“I felt like I was moving backwards with about 15 meters to go going into that wall [at 150 meters],” Phelps said on NBC Sports Live Extra, adding later, “I’ve never swam in wind like that in my life.”

Full results are here.

The 50m freestylers benefitted because they started with the wind to their backs and only swam one length of the pool.

Madison Kennedy in particular. She clocked the fastest-ever U.S. women’s 50m freestyle outside of the 2008 and 2009 high-tech swimsuit era. Her 24.45 broke Dara Torres‘ 2007 mark of 24.53.

Missy Franklin finished fifth in the 100m backstroke, one day after failing to qualify for the top eight-swimmer final in the 200m freestyle.

Ryan Lochte was second in the 100m backstroke, not one of his primary events.

Swimmers are training to peak for the Olympic Trials from June 26-July 3 in Omaha, Neb.

NBC Sports Live Extra will have live coverage of the last night of racing in Mesa on Saturday at 8 ET.

MORE: Ledecky ‘breaks’ Olympic male gold medalist in practice

Ryan Lochte feels like ‘underdog’ as loaded Mesa meet starts

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Four years ago, Ryan Lochte was the world’s best swimmer, coming off a haul of five gold medals at the 2011 World Championships.


The 31-year-old feels like “the underdog” with the Olympics less than four months away and the Olympic Trials in a little more than two months.

“I would say there is less pressure going into these Olympic Games because my past couple of years haven’t really been where I needed to be,” Lochte said Wednesday. “Now that Michael [Phelps] is back and everything, I think I’m back to being the underdog.”

Lochte, Phelps and the other members of U.S. swimming’s Big Four — Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky — all compete in Mesa this weekend (broadcast schedule here).

It should be the last time they’re together at one Grand Prix-level meet before the Olympic Trials in Omaha from June 26-July 3.

Lochte expects to race the 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly on Thursday.

He’s also entered in the 200m butterfly and 100m backstroke on Friday and the 200m individual medley, 200m backstroke and 100m freestyle on Saturday.

Phelps is racing only one event per day — 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley.

Lochte and Phelps’ duels are always highlights at these domestic meets, but both are training to peak for the trials, so head-to-heads and even times in Mesa shouldn’t be dissected too much.

Lochte’s setbacks and struggles since he won three individual medals at London 2012 are more pertinent — a coaching change, significant injuries and doubts that reached retirement thoughts.

Lochte made the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in four individual events, but it’s looking unlikely that he can replicate that in Omaha.

Lochte ranked in the top five in the U.S. last year in two events — 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley. He did win his fourth straight 200m individual medley World title on Aug. 6.

But that field didn’t include then-punished Phelps, who had the fastest 2000m IM time in the world last year, or injured Japan superstar Kosuke Hagino, who beat Lochte and Phelps at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.

Lochte and his mad scientist coach David Marsh threw a curveball in January, entering the grueling 400m individual medley at a meet in an Olympic-sized pool for the first time since May 30, 2013.

He won the race, beating the fastest U.S. man in the event from 2015 (Chase Kalisz) by 1.98 seconds. It marked Lochte’s first win in a Grand Prix-level meet in an event other than the 200m individual medley since April 24, 2014.

Lochte remained coy about whether he would swim that grueling race at the Olympic Trials. It’s on the first night of that meet and the Olympics.

Lochte, then the world’s best swimmer, destroyed the field in the London Olympic 400m IM by 3.68 seconds (where Phelps finished fourth).

Times have since changed.

“I haven’t really done anything the past couple of years,” Lochte said Wednesday. “But now that I’m back in shape, I’m training hard, it’s going to be interesting.”

VIDEO: Michael Phelps Under Armour spot

U.S. swim stars slated for Mesa meet; broadcast schedule

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Michael PhelpsRyan LochteKatie Ledecky and Missy Franklin are among eight individual 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medalists expected to compete at a Pro Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., next week.

They’re expected to be joined by fellow London champions Nathan AdrianTyler ClaryAllison Schmitt and Dana Vollmer.

Mesa is the fourth stop of the USA Swimming Pro Swim Series this season.

Swimmers are training to peak for the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb., from June 26-July 3, where the top two per individual event qualify for the Rio Olympic team.

The Mesa meet runs from April 14-16, with the April 15-16 finals streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra at 8 p.m. ET and the entire meet streamed on usaswimming.org.

NBCSN will have next-day taped finals coverage on April 16 (6:30 p.m. ET) and April 17 (midnight ET).

A live webcast of the entire meet also will be available at usaswimming.org.

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